I recognized that we were very different people and I thought that a pub would have been a good location for the two of us. Pubs tend to have something for everyone, because pub houses want all their patrons to buy pints and pitchers. The food tends to be simple, but (in large metropolitian cities) a pub menu will have a selection capable of satisfying any patron. A pub is the sort of establishment where frat boys can douse greasy hot wings during a Sens game while their fussy girlfriends pick at veggie burgers and nurse pints. Despite my deep voice, five o’clock shadow, and lingering social favor, I would be the fussy one. Or so I thought.
The girl I had brought with me denied the first pick and continued to scan the menu carefully. I went ahead and ordered the southwest vegan burger, with the guacamole topping and a side of sweet potato fries. Then I asked the server about the beer on tap. She said they had Kichesippi pale ale and a stout. I smiled and told her the pale ale would be just fine. After a minute, my not-a-date (as she insisted,) ordered a chicken pasta dish and said, “I’d like to order a London fog.”
I glanced around nervously, to verify that I had not, as I worried, slipped on a wormhole on my way to the pub and instead wound up at another Starbucks. The server blinked too, disoriented by this request which was utterly alien to her.
This is not the first time I had witnessed my not-a-date order a london fog. I had another non-date with her at Pagebreak, the coffee shop in the library on campus. In fact, on the way to that very pub, she stopped at a Bridgehead where she ordered a London fog. She explained to me that she fixes herself the drink at home. It was not until she ordered the beverage in the pub when I came to the conclusion that this was not just her favorite quirky tea. My not-a-date had an addiction to vanilla syrup and whipped cream-laced black tea that could only be rivaled by my private obsession with hazelnuts and Sarah Michelle Gellar.
It was at this point where the server confessed that she had never heard of a London fog, and made the mistake of asking how to make it.
A pub is an establishment that falls somewhere between a bar and a restaraunt. A reasonable patron does not expect the kitchen staff at a pub to stray too far from their menu, or to ask the server to mix complex drinks. The servers at pubs are barely bartenders and they are certainly not barristas. Ordering any drink that requires more steps than pour from bottle or put glass beneath tap, pull lever is bad form, even for alcoholic drinks. The request of a tea drink that requres the use of whipped cream and a milk frother is tantamount to sin.So my not-date explains her drink of choice to the server. The server regrets to inform my not-date that this pub does not have vanilla syrup, but was none-the-less delighted to hear that such a syrup exists. Unfazed, my not-date informs the server that this is okay, she can make do with cream and vanilla extract. The server forces a smile and says she’ll check to see if they have vanilla extract – this is met with an oblivious grin. I made a mental note to tip our server well.